Orlando, Florida holds the distinction of being one of the most popular cities to visit in America. With its family-friendly attractions, diverse culinary scene, and renowned Walt Disney World, Orlando offers a multitude of experiences for visitors.
Orlando is Secure, But Be Cautious of Scams and Petty Crimes
As a local resident of Orlando, I can confidently say that the city is generally safe for tourists. The implementation of robust security measures at theme parks and resorts has made the tourist areas some of the safest parts of the city.
In terms of overall safety, Orlando is considered a secure destination. However, it’s important to note that there are a few neighborhoods in Orlando with higher crime rates that are best avoided by tourists. Additionally, visitors should be cautious of park ticket scams and petty crimes while in Orlando.
Similar to many other large cities, Orlando is divided into various neighborhoods and suburban towns. The neighborhoods with higher violent crime rates, such as Pine Hills, Malibu Groves, Carver Shores, Signal Hill, Lake Sunset, Roosevelt Park, and Washington Shores, are primarily located west of downtown Orlando. It’s crucial to be aware of these areas, but there are also many safe neighborhoods in Orlando where tourists can choose to stay. Interestingly, some tourists find that the weather poses the greatest danger when visiting Orlando.
For a safe stay in Orlando, it is recommended to consider accommodations at hotels near Universal Studios or Walt Disney World. Popular tourist areas in proximity to the theme parks, such as International Drive and Celebration, are generally considered safe as well. Many suburban towns within Greater Orlando, including Winter Park, Winter Garden, and Lake Nona, are also known for their safety.
Pine Hills, Orlando’s Dangerous Area, Lacks Attractions, Attracts Fewer Visitors
It’s worth mentioning that the Pine Hills area is considered the most dangerous part of Orlando. Fortunately, this area lacks tourist attractions, resulting in fewer visitors frequenting it.
To assist visitors in selecting the best neighborhoods and hotels for their stay in Orlando, I have compiled a list of recommendations.
Regarding COVID-19 safety, Orlando’s attractions have adhered to CDC recommendations or even implemented stricter protocols throughout the pandemic. As of March 2022, approximately 76% of Orange County residents had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that Orlando attracts visitors from around the country and the world.
While Florida as a whole has experienced cyclical waves of positive COVID-19 cases, Orlando has at times fallen below the national average for infections. Currently (April 2022), there are no COVID-19-related restrictions for visiting Orlando. Major Orlando attractions have lifted all mask requirements, although unvaccinated guests are still encouraged to wear masks indoors.
Orlando Has Higher Violent and Property Crime Rates
When it comes to crime, Orlando has a higher rate of violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, assault) compared to the national average, with 8.28 incidents per 1,000 residents. However, it’s important to note that these statistics include the dangerous neighborhoods in Orlando that are not typically visited by tourists. The property crime rate, encompassing burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft, stands at 36.8 incidents per 1,000 residents.
Petty theft, particularly pickpocketing, is the most common property crime affecting tourists. Such incidents often occur when tourists leave money or valuables unsecured at their hotel, a restaurant, or a theme park.
Tourists in Orlando should be cautious of common scams as well. Theft is a prevalent issue, with opportunistic thieves taking advantage of the crowded and chaotic environments of theme parks and attractions. Visitors should ensure that their money and valuables are always securely stored on their person and avoid leaving them unattended in hotel rooms, strollers, or cars.
Another scam to be aware of involves ticket sellers. Scammers may attempt to sell counterfeit tickets or offer the remaining days of multi-day passes. While purchasing unused days on a multi-day ticket might seem tempting, it is not permitted. Major theme parks employ fingerprint or photo tracking to prevent ticket transfers.
Orlando Gas Stations Face Scams, Inaccurate Prices Check Security Seals.
Furthermore, there have been reports of scams at gas stations in Orlando, particularly those near Orlando International Airport and rental car agencies. These establishments often display incorrect lower prices on their signs, leading tourists to believe they are paying less. However, the actual pump price is significantly higher. Additionally, credit card skimmers on gas pumps have been a concern. It is advisable to look for undamaged security seals near the card reader or consider paying with the clerk inside to minimize the risk of card information theft.
Orlando experiences frequent thunderstorms, particularly during the summer, earning Central Florida the title of “lightning strike capital of America.” Locals often advise that if thunder can be heard, there is a risk of being struck by lightning. It is essential to seek shelter indoors when storms approach and wait until the storm has passed. Pools and water parks typically wait for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder before reopening.
During the summer, visitors, especially those from cooler climates, should be mindful of the high heat and humidity. Dehydration and increased alcohol consumption contribute to heat exhaustion and heatstroke, even among local residents who may make unwise choices in the face of intense summer heat.
Orlando is also susceptible to hurricanes, with hurricane season running from June to November. While most storms that hit Orlando bring strong winds and heavy rainfall without causing extensive damage, it is advisable to monitor the weather if traveling during hurricane season. Consider adding travel insurance when booking trips to Orlando during this period to protect against cancellations or interruptions. Online marketplaces like Aardy can assist in finding suitable travel insurance plans.
Orlando is generally welcoming to LGBTQ+ visitors, despite the tragic mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in 2016. In 2022, a memorial and museum commemorating the victims are set to open. The city itself is known for being inclusive and hospitable to LGBTQ+ individuals, with numerous safe bars and nightclubs. The annual Gay Days event, though unofficial, attracts many visitors to Orlando. Since 2015, Orlando has embraced gay marriage, making it an ideal destination for LGBTQ+ weddings.
The drinking water in Orlando is safe to consume. However, it’s important to note that many parts of the city have hard water, which may not be to everyone’s liking in terms of taste. At Disney World, the water fountains have earned the moniker “swamp water” due to the flavor disliked by most people. Bottled water is readily available for purchase at the attractions, and visitors can also request a free cup of water at dining locations. It may be beneficial to bookmark a detailed Disney World itinerary planner for a planned visit to Disney World.
To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in Orlando, here are five essential safety tips:
- Prepare for Orlando’s Weather: The heat and humidity in Orlando can be intense, so it is crucial to wear appropriate clothing and protect yourself from the sun. Staying hydrated, limiting alcohol consumption, and eating regular meals are essential. While enjoying the experience of drinking around the world at Epcot, it’s important to remember to stay well-hydrated and nourished.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings: While Orlando is generally safe, it is always recommended to remain aware of your surroundings when traveling. Although tourist areas are typically safe, it’s possible for more dangerous areas to exist just a few blocks away. Avoid walking around with loud music playing through headphones and refrain from excessive phone use.
- Stay Near Popular Attractions: Opting to stay at a Disney or Universal Studios hotel and primarily visiting attractions within these properties is a popular choice for many families. These establishments have extensive security measures in place, making them among the safest places to stay in Orlando. In general, the theme parks have low crime rates.
- Leave Valuables at Home: Orlando vacations are often casual, so there is usually no need to bring expensive jewelry or accessories. It is best to leave valuable items at home to prevent loss or theft. If necessary, use the hotel room safe to secure valuable possessions.
- Plan Ahead: Prioritize planning by familiarizing yourself with directions using GPS before starting your journey. Read reviews and recommendations for different attractions and destinations to make informed decisions. Additionally, consider purchasing travel insurance to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Orlando Safety:
Q: Does Orlando have a high crime rate? A: Orlando has a crime rate higher than the national average when considering the city as a whole. However, it’s important to note that the crime rate includes neighborhoods that are not near major attractions. The tourist destinations in Orlando generally have low crime rates.
Q: What areas are considered bad in Orlando? A: The most unsafe neighborhood in Orlando is Pine Hills. Visitors should also avoid the surrounding areas, including Johnson Village and North Orange Blossom Trail. These areas are known for both violent crimes and property crimes.
Q: Is it safe to walk around Orlando at night? A: Tourist destinations such as Disney Springs, Universal CityWalk, and the main strip of International Drive are generally safe for nighttime strolls. Additionally, there are several pockets of nightlife venues closer to downtown Orlando that are considered safe for walking at night.
It’s important to remember that Orlando’s overall crime rates do not necessarily reflect the safety of tourists at major attractions. These areas are generally considered safe, and crimes against visitors are rare. However, it is always advisable to take precautions, remain vigilant, and avoid leaving valuables unattended when traveling to any destination